The New York Times, which is due to begin charging for online content later today, is offering a heavily discounted subscription rate of $0.99 on all of digital packages for the first four weeks.

The web and smartphone rate is down from $15 for four weeks, the cost of reading online and on a tablet is reduced from $20, and access on all platforms is down from $35, according to an offer on the New York Times's website.

The newspaper announced its intention to introduce charges on 17 March and the metered pay model is due to go live at 7pm BST today.

Readers will be able to access 20 articles for free every month but will then have to pay the subscription.

Landing on a story via a link from social media networks and search engines will count toward the monthly limit, but users will be able to access articles for free via these links once the limit of 20 has run out. The newspaper said in a statement that it is "committed to the open web" and wants to "encourage links from Facebook, Twitter, search engines, blogs and social media".

Several search engines including Google are understood to have introduced a daily limit of five free articles. "This limit applies to the majority of search engines," a spokesperson for the New York Times told



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